Criminal Justice

Lawyer arrested for allegedly helping Mexican drug kingpin escape from prison

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The New York Times reported Thursday that attorney Oscar Manuel Gómez and five others have been arrested for allegedly helping plan and carry out Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s escape from prison in July.

The Times reported that Gómez allegedly planned his client’s escape, and used his regular meetings with the inmate to help put the plan in motion. Gómez allegedly purchased property outside the prison for the purpose of tunneling into the facility, and is also accused of arranging for a private jet to take El Chapo into the mountains, where he could hide from the authorities. According to the Times, the other accused conspirators include El Chapo’s brother-in-law; the pilot who flew El Chapo into the mountains; an architect who designed the underground tunnel system used in the escape; and a person who provided false documentation to buy the property adjacent to the prison.

“Guzmán managed to escape from prison, but neither he nor those who helped him will escape justice,” Mexican Attorney General Arely Gómez González said in a statement. El Chapo remains at large, although he hasn’t been quiet. Earlier this month, he allegedly placed a $100 million bounty on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after Trump referred to El Chapo in a speech about Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. and committing crimes. El Chapo is wanted in at least seven U.S. jurisdictions on charges of murder and drug trafficking; three weeks before his escape, the U.S. government had requested his extradition, according to an earlier Times story.

These arrests are the latest in the ongoing saga of El Chapo’s escape from Mexico’s most secure prison. According to the Times, 34 people have been charged for helping El Chapo break out of jail, including former prison director Valentín Cárdenas and head of Mexico’s federal prison system Celina Oseguera Parra.

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